Seafood and BBQ near Oak Island, NC?
My SO and I will be down in Oak Island, NC for a week the begining of April. Looking for some good places for seafood and some real BBQ. Have been there before and when searching earlier chow posts saw a lot of recs on the Provision Co. in Southport, which I really didnt enjoy that much when we were there (thought it was too expensive for what we got). So if people can recommend any places in that area we would really appreciate it. We have a week and are willing to drive a bit if necessary. Would love to try some real NC BBQ. We love to eat pretty much anything so any suggestions would be welcome.
Thanks in advance!
I've never been all that psyched about any of the seafood restaurants in the Oak Island area (the one really junky down-home joint I liked, Sandy's, down under the bridge on the mainland side, has closed), but I will put in a *strong* recommendation for Haag & Sons fish market . . . the folks there are friendly, quick to offer a suggestion or an explanation, and the fish & scallops we've bought there have always been super-fresh. Assuming you're renting a house or something else with a kitchen, buy fresh & cook your own; you won't be sorry.
There's now a BBQ joint on the island, which seems wrong to me (isn't it in violation of some kind of NC BBQ code to prepare & serve pig on an island?), but as far as it goes, it's not bad. It's not in the same league as the truly great NC BBQ, but the same could be said of most all BBQ restaurants that close to the ocean. It's certainly on the same level as most other coastal BBQ I've had.
Honestly, the best/most remarkable meal I had in a restaurant on Oak Island last year was the insane (and insanely good) burger I had at Little Bit's. I mistakenly ordered the large, and wound up with a hand-formed patty that overhung the edge of the bun by about two inches on all sides. Smothered in onions. It was delicious, and I have no intention of ever ordering another one ;-) -- but I will go back & get a smaller burger ASAP next time I'm on the island.
Expanding out towards Southport, I'm still a big proponent of Thai Pepper's. There's something about the air at the coast which prevents me from assessing the quality of Thai Pepper's on some kind of absolute Thai-food scale, but I *will* say that it's at least as good as your run-of-the-mill hometown Thai restaurant, the kind you willingly go to once or twice a month, and to find it in a small town in coastal NC is still somewhat miraculous.
There's now a Thai restaurant on Oak Island itself, but it never seemed to be open, no matter the time of day that we drove by. To expect it to be any good would be asking too much anyway, I think.
Oak Island is my favorite NC beach, so no matter what, have a great time, and report back on any chow finds you make.
My family and I mourn the loss of Sandys! They had the best chowder, and the best atmosphere on Oak Island.
Has anyone else tried the Live Oak Cafe? We did, last year, and found it good. Hope the business has survived it's first year.
Looking forward to visiting in early May. Hope someone reports back about the best places to eat.
I personally love Provisions - but another great place to get seafood is The Fish House. It's near the Blue Water Marina, towards end of the island. I'm not a big fan of NC bbq so don't have recommendations there. I also love Thai by the Sea - which is on Oak Island on the main drag, Famous Pizza and Subs - on the way to Southport - has really amazing pizza. There's just something about their crust and cheese combo, good greek salads and wings too. The Mexican place near Lowe's grocery store isn't bad either.
For barbecue try The Barbecue House on OI. Fairly good if fresh off the pit and the best in the area. Turtle Island has been the source of several really good seafood meals for us. Can get loud when they have live music. There's a little spot next door to Turtle Island that has great fried flounder. May be a lunch only place, though. Little Bit's has great burgers. Best seafood on the island is at my pals Tony and Lynn's house supplied by Haag & Sons. All fish is cut to order.
I also tried Turtle Island earlier this summer and was pleasantly surprised. The prices were slightly higher than we expected, but the portions were large (several of us made ample meals out of a salad and appetizer) and the food was very well-prepared and fresh. Nothing unusual or avante garde, but every dish seemed to be prepared with care and attention to detail - which surprised me, to be honest, in a casual beach restaurant. Delicious crab dip. The waitstaff also didn't blink at our party of 11 (with separate checks), for which I am always grateful, and it was one of few places we could find open on Sunday night.
I agree about Provisions. The atmosphere is fun, everyone should try it once - but the menu is short, the portions small, the preparation assembly-line, and the prices high.
I highly recommend the "boil" pot at The Fish House. You also might want to make a reservation when we went there in October we had to wait about 45 minutes.
Havn't tried the new BBQ restaurant yet, but Thai by the Sea on OI is really good. The previous poster may not have known that there are two buildings... the little one is open at lunch & in the winter, and the big one is open at night during tourist season. You will not be sorry if you order the summer rolls. All the other people's recommendations I can vouch for -- they are right on. If you are on OI and don't want to schlep over to Southport there is a new "yacht provision" at the Yaupon Pier... it is called Latitudes. Same concept, ocean view instead of river.... also I thought Fishy Fishy in Southport was pretty good considering where it is. Also on OI if you want to take a step back in time to seafood in the old Carolina style, go to Jones' or to Captain Stanleys.